Let staff chat to introduce ideas in the workplace

Employers should encourage staff to talk if they want to improve creativity
and innovation in the workplace.

An Industrial Society report claims that the ‘head down, assembly-line
culture’ of UK business stifles the creation of new ideas and inventiveness.

Alex McKie, author of Virtual Value: Conversations, Ideas and the Creative
Economy, believes encouraging conversations is the first step towards making
the workplace more creative.

He said: "All new ideas begin with conversation, and if employers want
to make money, they have to invest time in allowing people to talk to each
other.

"The employer intent on stamping out idle chatter is likely to kill
good ideas in the process," he said.

Working to measurable targets and a rigid chain of command inhibit
innovation, McKie added.

He argues that in the current business climate organisations only encourage
creativity within the normal rules of business.

McKie said the economic downturn has made the environment for creativity
even more hostile as managers become reluctant to allow people to deviate from
established working practices.

"Creativity matters, and not just because it makes life more
interesting and engaging, but creativity makes business sense too," McKie
said.

"Last year, creativity was everyone’s favourite buzzword. Now
hyper-rationality is in, and anything that looks vaguely like a risk should be
avoided.

"But employers need to lighten up. Creativity is the source of future
competitive advantage."

He recommends that employers break down hierarchies, so that ideas from
junior staff are not disregarded.

www.indsoc.co.uk

By Paul Nelson

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